The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot has just been added to the library’s "new book shelf" located on the third floor just inside the library entrance.
The book tells the story of Lacks, a poor Southern tobacco farmer who entered Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 for cervical cancer. A sample of her cancer cells was taken without her knowledge, but unlike other cell samples which died almost instantly, hers became the first human cells to replicate indefinitely in a test tube and went on to become the most widely disseminated cell sample in the scientific world. Her cells played a vital role in the development of the polio vaccine, treatments and cures for diseases ranging from cancer to AIDS, and discoveries in cloning and gene mapping. And though the cells have launched a multimillion dollar industry, the Lacks family, which received no compensation, has remained impoverished.